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HORSEBACK RIDING SPARKS IMAGINATION
by: McClain

Have you read Protoclown's god-awful story on Horse Enthusiasts? Well don't. It sucks. And on top of that, it undermines every newfound truth I know to be evident. I say newfound because less that one week ago I rode a real horse for the first time. I've been known to slip a penny in the Wal-Mart mechanical horse from time to time, but I found that despite a realistic saddle and damn near on-the-money shaking emulation, those robotic horses leave a lot to the imagination, like “Could I, in the face of death, ejaculate while riding a real horse at a full trot?”

It all started less than one week ago. The wife and I were celebrating one year of marital bliss (if you rearrange the words, you can spell "A bra it'll miss" which couldn't be farther from the truth). We were in the mountains of southern California, invading a charming little town called Julian, known for it’s apple pie and bed and breakfast inns. We tipped off the festivities by overpaying a couple of thieves to let us chap our assess on these tamed beasts.

First let me say that movies do no justice to the power of a horse. Albeit I’m a 180-lb mass of wet noodle, the stallion responded like I was non-existent, kind of like my wife does. Make no mistake about it, horses are as strong as an… ox.

Because of their raw power, the owners felt it necessary to brief us on how to ride a horse. “First, put your left foot in the…” Come on lady! I’ve seen enough western’s to know! I’m a fuckin’ pro already. Now back off, let me saddle this bad little bitch and I’ll ride off in the sunset like those guys in the movies.

Maybe I’ll swoop up some little female commoner while she’s picking flowers in the canyon, ride until the sun sets and end up drinking swill under a dying oak tree. We’ll wake up to the sound of rattlesnakes in my Adidas and then I, with a lightning-quick draw, will summon my two six-shooters (actually, I’d prefer hardballers) and turn the slitherers in to colanders.

The horse I was riding was pretty brown girl named Medallion. Make no mistake about if folks, Medallion was no My Little Pony. Although her mane did smell a bit like the strawberry one if you left it out in the sun too long.

yeeeeee haw!
McClain braves the great indoors.

I pretended she was a he, wore a jet-black coat and was named “Othello the Grit.” I was afforded plenty of time to imagine, because most of the trail ride consisted of going up and down mild hills at the pace of an earthworm with a prosthetic ass. I could have put on chaps and briskly walked up and down the trails while slapping my own ass, but it wouldn’t have been the same. Those of you who have tried slapping your own ass know what I’m talking about.

After the safety brief, where I was issued a helmet, gloves and atropine, I mounted my mare and waited for everyone else to do the same. I guess I’m a natural ‘cause I hopped up like I was John Wayne. It wasn’t so hard to stay balanced on the horse, but keeping the fucker from trying to run away was a challenge. Medallion, I mean Othello the Grit, was an antsy horsey. He (she) kept wanting to stick his face in the ass of another horse. The lady warned me, “Don’t let Medallion nip at the others’ rears!”

“Fuck that shit!” I thought. “If Othello wants to bite some ass, so be it! Who am I but a lowly passenger to tell this magnificent animal what to do?” But just to test the responsiveness of Othello, I tightened the reigns and yelled, “Whoa, girl! WHOA! Don’t smell his ass you filthy whore!” It worked. I felt like I had done this a thousand times. I imagined that I was a pro, but that to remain modest was a great nobility. “Pssh. I’m a pro. There’s nothing they can teach me! But I’ll keep my mouth shut so the instructor feels special. To remain modest is a great nobility.”

*sniff* *sniff*
No McClain... NO.

Now that I think back on my experience, it really wasn’t that eventful. The only thing that kept it truly interesting was that little devil on my shoulder telling me to “GO GO GO!” It almost got the best of me. I found myself digging my heels in to the side of the horse. It would startle and begin to trot, but then I’d have to give the reigns a hefty yank and yell, “WHOA, girl! WHOA WHOA!” I could see the animal rights freaks in a flurry of concern. They would picket the ranch with signs reading “CRUELTY CULTIVATORS” and I’d laugh and throw sloppy vegetables at their faces.

I suppose the suspense of going down a steep hill while riding the horse kept me mildly entertained as well. I kept imaging Othello’s knees snapping under the intense pressure, shooting me forward at such a speed that I could either do a face dive in a pile of pine cones, or swiftly land on the horse to my front. From there, the only viable option would be to throw the original rider down the ravine and steal his horse. Then, when the instructor lady caught wind of what just happened, she would quickly trot on her champion horse to parallel me and attempt to thwart my escape. I’d kick her in the ribs and she’d go down hard. I think she’d probably roll down a hill and whimper, too. But before her champion stallion got away, I’d grab his reigns quickly and he’d accompany me and my current horse as we gained ground in the thick woods. Oh, and Othello would follow us. Even with broken legs his dedication ran deep, and because of his personal sacrifice, I wouldn’t shoot him dead like one is supposed to do with a crippled horse. I’d just let him die then me and the other two horses would have an Othello barbecue somewhere deep in the mountains. We’d whinny and recount the story of how I kicked the instructor lady in the ribs. Then one of the other horses would mention that he saw her fall on a sharp stick and puncture her gut. We’d laugh more and raise our steins in merriment!

Back to reality. I was the third horse in a single-file line of five and all I wanted to do was zoom past those first two. I figured that if I could find my way to town fast enough, I could patrol the streets and harass shoppers. I imagined myself swooping down and stealing shopping bags right out of the unsuspecting tourists hands. Slapping the backs of heads. Spitting on display windows. Screaming my head off! And all from the safety of my horse! Citizens would shriek and jump from the sidewalk in to the street to evade being clobbered under the weight of Othello’s stalwart trot, only to be hit by veering cars. I sparked chaos in the streets of Julian! The stock prices of apple pies will plummet! Mwahahah! Who could stop me? Not a car! They’d be to afraid to hit the horse and dent their fender. Not the cops! Their bullets would bounce off of Othello’s thick hide. Who can stop me? Not the National Guard! It would take them weeks to assemble. WHO CAN STOP ME?

The grim reality that my imagination was the only thing making this interesting stopped me. But you know what? If I could have at least jumped a fence, ran around in circles or parked the horse then been able to slap it on it’s ass as a gesture to run free, I would have been satisfied. But no. I wrapped up the episode by feeding it carrots. Next time I’m just going to steal a horse because that’s the only way to have fun while riding for real. In the beginning I divorced the idea of riding a mechanical horse because it left my perceptions unsatisfied. When I rode a real horse, all I was doing was imagining. The best parts of my experience are the parts that never happened.

Ironically, I’m still a horse enthusiast. And I’m sorry your legs got broken, Othello the Grit. 

note: McClain did eventually ride off into the sunset, but he got frustrated when he realized the sad truth that he couldn't actually ride his horse into the sun.


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